From Rumours to Reality

Heroes Remember

From Rumours to Reality

I do remember August 2nd when Iraq invaded Kuwait. I remember the date and then mess deck talk starts. And the rumours always start, oh we’re going, we’re going over and I very clearly remember that they did a hands fall in on the flight deck and it was maybe two or three days later and they said rumours are going around that we’re going to the Persian Gulf and this was from the CO. He said, “There is no way we are going to the Persian Gulf! It is nothing, it’s not going to happen, forget it,” and they dismissed us. So then it was literally two days later or a day later something like that, another hands fall in and they said it’s possible. There’s talk from our land, there’s talk from Ottawa that there might be a contingent going over. So then on the 10th when we actually found out, they said they wanted everyone to muster into their mess decks and turn the TV on. And so we were down in the mess decks and Brian Mulroney came on a press conference and said these three ships are going. And you literally could have heard a pin drop in the mess and there’s fifty, there was like fifty four men in my mess and you could have heard a pin drop, it’s like… and there were some people who didn’t want to go. I was really nervous, I was like wow what are we doing here? What’s going to happen? And once the initial shock, like I got over the initial shock, okay we’re going to a war zone it’s like I am making sure I am going to be there. So I went to one of my petty officers who was a senior petty officer, George Robertson, and he was one of the guys who was training us and I actually looked up to George a lot. And I said, “PO, I want you to make sure that I am on the short list to go!” Because they immediately went in to a, they start putting the list of who they are going to put, the crew they want and the people they are going to land. So they do temporary duties, bringing people in, posting people off, attach postings and such as that, and he said, “Don’t worry, you’re going to be there!’ I said, “Great!” So then once they got it I knew what I was doing and then essentially for those two weeks because we found out of the 10th, on the 24th those two weeks was just a constant getting ready. That night, literally that night they were in cutting off the mortars, the old mortars that we had on the ship to put in the sea whiz and I remember line ups for needles, line ups for stores, all of our NBC gear, all of our extra tropical kit which as an engineer we never wore tropical kit, we were always long pants and shirts, always, we couldn’t wear shorts. All that happened and then the extra training and it was nonstop. So it didn’t really give you a lot of chance to be in a shock, it’s like you’re going and you got to be ready yesterday.

Mr. Mellor shares the story of how he first heard of a contingent going to the Persian Gulf and steps he took to ensure he would be a part of it.

Bruce Mellor

Mr. Bruce Mellor was born August 5, 1968 in Hamilton, Ontario. Always having the desire to join the military, Mr. Mellor joined the navy as ordinary seaman on board the HMCS Athabaskan. When instructions were given by the military to take part in the Persian Gulf War, he expressed his strong desire to be a part of this and spent his time at sea as a part of the engineering department with duties as stoker. With 20 years of military service, Mr. Mellor holds great pride for the contribution he made to the navy. Mr. Mellor now resides in Halifax with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 27, 2016
Person Interviewed:
Bruce Mellor
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Gulf War
HMCS Athabascan

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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